ABQ Design Summit Workshops and Lectures

The ABQ Design Summit is an annual two-day design conference August 16-17th, 2019 hosted by AIGA, the professional association for design. This year’s speakers and workshops will be centered around the theme of “Focus,” zooming in on what makes New Mexico and our creative community unique. Click here to get your tickets!

Luke Dorman & Caitlin LeMoine, Saturday Keynote

Lead Graphic Designers, Meow Wolf 

This year’s ABQ Design Summit’s closing keynote speakers are Luke Dorman and Caitlin LeMoine, lead graphic designers at Meow Wolf. Leading a team of designers at a maximalist arts & entertainment company means touching many different disciplines in design and utilizing them for storytelling, merchandise, marketing, and world-building.

Luke is an artist and designer, previously working as a graphic design instructor at Santa Fe University of Art & Design. Luke’s contemporary and experimental approach to design work has lead him to be recognized by Print, Communication Arts, the Society for Typographic Arts, GDUSA, and others.

Also an illustrator and designer, Caitlin moved here from El Paso, Texas to work with Meow Wolf after working in advertising. She is recognized for her packaging design and editorial illustration and currently is the secretary for AIGA New Mexico.


Leading a team of designers at a maximalist arts & entertainment company means touching many different disciplines in design. However, you don’t have to be at a niche creative company to bring personality to your work. Learn from the lead designers of Meow Wolf some of their strategic tools for putting yourself into your design work.



Acacia Carr, Saturday Keynote

Web developer, Brand designer, Graphic artist, and Author of Uncommon Creative

Acacia Carr is a web developer, brand designer, graphic artist, and author of the recent book, Uncommon Creative: The Handbook for Unicorns (November 2018). She started coding in 1998—just a few months before Google was launched—and has now been in professional practice for over 11 years running her one woman creative web studio. A specialist in WordPress as a CMS and Responsive Web Design, Carr has worked with clients around the world in a variety of fields including healthcare, entertainment, fine art, fashion, education, small biz, and the nonprofit sector. She creates unique and authentic visual brand experiences across the spectrum of web and print. Her current work is focused on helping creatives, entrepreneurs, and non-profits define their brand for an international audience.

A lifelong artist and native New Mexican, Carr lived in the Bay Area from 2005-2016 where she learned the ins and outs of the tech world. She has worked with startups in every stage of development including projects in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. She returned to New Mexico in 2016 to help spread awareness about professional opportunities in the digital arts for her fellow New Mexicans.

In her spare time, Carr is an all styles hip hop dancer and produces electronic trip-hop music. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter.


During Acacia’s keynote, she will highlight New Mexicans who are doing work in interaction design including experiential design, app design, brand design, product design, and more and explore how design informs and shapes our daily lives. She will show the breadth and depth of what design can do, especially when communities come together to create new ideas to improve our collective future. She will also share a bit about herself and how people can stay connected to the community after the event.



Zak Rutledge, Friday Keynote

Senior Art Director, 3 Advertising, United New Mexico Brand

Zak Rutledge is a Senior Art Director at 3 Advertising in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His primary focus is on design, advertising and illustration. When he is not designing you can find him exploring his own personal artwork; which draws inspiration from the surreal and the strange.



Shandiin Woodward & Ryan Leonski

Creators of Subliminal, indie game studio and Button City

Shandiin Woodward & Ryan Leonski Creators of Subliminal, indie game studio and Button City

Shandiin is a video game artist and indie game developer from Albuquerque, NM. She co-founded Subliminal and is the Chair of the Albuquerque Game Developers Guild. Before working in the game industry her background was in graphic design and she formerly worked at Meow Wolf as a lead web designer. She’s currently working on Subliminal’s first full production game Button City as lead artist and art director. Through her work, she creates cute and whimsical worlds filled with spunky characters and a vibrant aesthetic.

Ryan is a video game designer and indie game developer from Albuquerque, NM. He co-founded Subliminal and is on the board of the Albuquerque Game Developers Guild. He previously worked at Ideum working on software for touch table applications and installations for museums. He is currently working on Button City as lead programmer and designer. Ryan works to make impactful and wholesome games that spread empathy and whimsy.

You can find Subliminal Gaming on Facebook.



Lauren Tresp

Editor and Publisher of Southwest Contemporary

Lauren Tresp, editor + publisher, Southwest Contemporary

Lauren Tresp has been writing about and working in contemporary arts for a decade, and is the founder of Southwest Contemporary and the publisher and editor-in-chief of SWC’s The Magazine. She has a Master of Arts in Humanities from the University of Chicago, where she studied Medieval and Renaissance Art History, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and History from UCLA.

“Reading criticism is a powerful tool for developing a mind that thinks critically. Seeing the process of critical evaluation take shape through others’ writing, whether we agree or not with their conclusions, can help us to take the time to slow down and really examine and look closely whatever we are being presented with,” she says. “And this kind of critical examination can be applied not only to artworks, exhibitions, films, or performance, but to political conversations, to our own work, and beyond. It’s really a tool for empowerment.”

Art Criticism as a Focused Practice

Lauren Tresp is the editor and publisher of Southwest Contemporary and The Magazine, New Mexico’s leading contemporary art publication, and one of few regional art publications that publishes critical writing. Lauren will be speaking on criticism as a focused practice of inquiry that can propel the arts upward and onward, lead to better and more innovative work, and can cultivate critical thinking as a lifelong mindset.



Carlos Contreras

One Albuquerque and the City of Albuquerque



Cory Campbell

Art Director of La Cumbre Brewing Co.

Overcoming Self-Doubt to Find Your Creative Voice

Meet Cory Campbell, designer, illustrator, and creative director for La Cumbre Brewing Co. Come listen to Cory as he addresses something that all creatives can relate to—overcoming self-doubt. During his talk, you will learn helpful tips for reclaiming your creativity by quieting your inner voice of self-doubt and amplifying your own unique creativity.



Joel Martinez & Iris Morales

Award-Winning Designers and Owners of EME Design Studio

EME Design Studio

EME Design Studio is an agency that is as unique as its surroundings. Located in El Paso, Texas, an American city with a desert landscape and a Mexican heart. This desert city we are proud to call home gives us inspiration from both sides of the border. We can have mouth-watering tacos al pastor served with all the fixings and enjoy them under the warm Texas sky, the best of two countries in one place. We are lucky to live in a fountain of inspiration that enables us to break any and every rule. However, here we receive more than inspiration; the Mexican culture that is rooted in El Paso teaches us to treat people with warmth and sincerity, characteristics that we believe are fundamental to the philosophy of our studio. We are a small studio that believes that clear and constant communication along with a true passion for design yield the most innovative and dynamic results. EME Design Studio specializes in consulting, branding and growing progressive hospitality concepts.

The principals of our Agency are proven marketing veterans who have worked extensively in the hospitality and entertainment sectors. We have world-class brand experience, working with national and international marquee institutions such as The Venetian, Planet Hollywood, MGM at Foxwoods, The Luxor Hotel & Casino, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand Casino, Hotel Indigo, Kimpton Hotels, Atlantis at The Bahamas to name a few.

Iris Morales received a BFA in graphic design and printmaking from the University of Texas at El Paso and later on, a Master’s degree in Business Administration. After graduating, she moved to Las Vegas where she did creative work for clients such as Planet Hollywood, Atlantis at the Bahamas, MGM Resorts International, among others.

Joel drives the creative vision of the company and its clients. Trained as a Graphic Designer, he began art directing early in his career and was able to leverage this to faithfully execute his original ideas in local campaigns and print advertisements as well as remain one of the city’s top collateral and identity designers. Joel had the distinction of creating the National American Advertising Award winner brand identity for Hillside Coffee & Donut Co. and Boxha. As an award-winning designer, he has worked with Angel Music Group (now Hakassan Group), Movingsun Studios and Fat Elvis Advertising in Las Vegas. In addition to The Venetian, he has done work for Sierra Mist, Trader Vic’s, The City of El Paso, Dillard’s, Tenet Health, Hotel Indigo and a number of local and national restaurants.

Our work has been published in books and magazines around the world, as well as received numerous awards nationally and internationally.

Find EME Design Studio on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Focus Pocus – The magic wand for graphic designers

Meet Iris Morales and Joel Martínez, founders of Eme Design Studio. During their presentation, they will take you through their journey of becoming designers. Sharing their early experiences, they will discuss the steps they have taken to become recognized international designers. They will also share their creative process and ways to find inspiration in this busy and saturated world in which we live in. All while unveiling a Pandora’s box full of secrets and some magic tricks to become the best designer you can be.



Lyn Bain & Ben Nargi

Chili Interactive & Aptima Inc.

Lyn Bain & Ben Nargi, Albuquerque UX Group, Chili Interactive & Aptima Inc.

Lyn Bain is an interaction designer and user researcher with Chili Interactive in Santa Fe. As a consultant, Lyn has worked on web, desktop, mobile, and conversational (voice/text) products for companies of all sizes and in many industries. Lyn likes to say that she works on the things “behind the password” – rather than on customer-facing websites – and specializes in making complicated tools, conversations, and applications easy and natural for users. Lyn makes no apologies for naming her company Chili (instead of Chile) Interactive. The company was founded 10 years before her move to New Mexico and Chili was the best dog ever so that spelling will stay like it is!

Ben Nargi is an experience designer at Aptima Inc. who works on a variety of tools/projects that deal with performance assessment, decision making, and measurement. You can typically find him in the woods somewhere collecting requirements, jamming on the design tool of the month, and interacting with users. His education focused on medical device analysis, ecological interface design, and human-machine interaction.

Lyn and Ben are both members of the Albuquerque User Experience Group (ABQ UX) which has over 70 members and serves both the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas. For more information or to join, head over to meetup.com/ABQ-UX



Ruth Cisneros

Copywriter and co-found of Coffee + Creatives

Senorita Ruth, Copywriter

Ruth started writing copy around 2007, for the website ThisNext, as a contractor to generate content to the new space. Since then, she’s gone on to create written descriptions for retail websites, marketing materials, and ad campaigns. Additionally, she is also an editor with a keen sense for cleaning up and cutting down. You can currently find Ruth participating in Deep Dive Coding Camp 2019. Find her online on Twitter and Instagram (@senoritaruth).



Brandi Sea Heft-Kniffin

Designer, Speaker, Educator, and Creator of Design Speaks and BrandiSea

Brandi Sea Heft-Kniffin is an award-winning designer, speaker, educator, and creative leader. With over 17 years of experience as a Creative Director, Art Director, and Designer, she founded her own media platform that consists of a weekly podcast, Design Speaks, YouTube channel, Design Tip Tuesday, and a blog, Design Matters; all built on her ideas that a specific design process, words, design thinking, and real-life inspiration are the keys to creating standout work. Brandi has been awarded for her poster design work including Judge’s Choice at the 2016 Adobe Creative Jam. In 2017, she was also awarded a prestigious “Albuquerque 30″ award from the American Advertising Federation, which celebrates the 30 greatest ideas of the year and has also taught Advanced Design Concepts at her alma mater, Southwest University of Visual Arts. Brandi loves words, process, iteration, arranging her books chromatically, and inspiration-collecting. She believes design thrives in constraint and that a great design process will solve any problem. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.



Liz Brown & Darold Ross

User Experience and User Interface Designers

Liz Brown & Darold Ross

Liz Brown is an award-winning senior User Experience and User Interface, designer. She is home-based in NM but currently traveling the world and spreading good design. She is experienced in all phases of the UX process including user research, usability testing, IAs, wireframes, storytelling, visual and interaction design, UI accessibility, and hi-fi prototyping. She is no stranger to pitching the value of UX, teaching UX design, and leading projects for responsive websites, desktop/web applications, and mobile apps. On the job, she is known for pitching innovation ideas, and in the community, she works hard to philanthropically “design for good.”

Darold Ross is obsessed with telling stories. When he was young, he was constantly crafting tales to excite and delight. Now he is a senior experience designer and project coordinator creating engaging experiences at the crossroads of technology and informal education. By day he works at Ideum, a creative agency based out of Corrales, NM that focuses on using emerging technologies to design public installations and products that lead to meaningful visitor experiences. He’s created dozens of interactive experiences for museums and companies around the world. By night, he’s an amateur writer and artist, creating interactive fiction for tabletop gameplay and personal devices. You can find more of his work at www.daroldross.com.

How to Begin a UX Project: User Research, Usability Testing, and Compellingly Presenting Your Findings

Join us as we journey through the steps you need to take to ensure a successful and consumer-centered UX project. We will walk through the processes we use that take a project from a vague idea to carefully considered approach with valuable data and research to inform your direction. We will explore top user research and usability testing methods and give you the tools to incorporate these practices into your own discipline. Once you have that data and research, we’ll show you methods to compile and communicate the importance of your findings. We’ll share our best tips and strategies for presenting your findings to clients and team members alike, including techniques that will help you persuasively engage and convince stakeholders to implement strategies based on your findings. Every project is a journey, so join us as we step into the UX process with our best foot forward.




Click here to get your tickets today!